Fantasy Impact of the NFL Draft - First Round

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Fantasy Impact of the NFL Draft - First Round

Wow!! What a way to start off the NFL Draft. 8 trades were made and it was very interesting all night to see what would happen next. Because of all the trading, many teams have to feel good about the player they selected. I only saw a couple of questionable picks, but that is why we all have opinions. Every year scouts think that they have a diamond only to find that they actually have a lemon. Look at the past drafts and you can see a bad pick to go with every good pick. For every Jerry Rice, I can show you a Charles Rogers; for every Peyton Manning, a Ryan Leaf. You get the idea. I will try and give you an instant fantasy football read on the key positions for the new year.

1. QB Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
From the word go, Andrew Luck will be given the keys to the offense. Andrew has been called the best to come out of college since John Elway, high praise indeed. Luck has the poise and confidence to sit back in the pocket and deliver the ball on target on every pass. The Colts are in a rebuilding process and need to give Luck some weapons to use. Reggie Wayne is still a fine player, but age is showing and he has lost a step. Austin Collie is also decent, but he is coming back from injury. It would not surprise me to see the Colts give Luck more weapons to work with. Once that happens, consider Luck a backup in redraft leagues. In dynasty leagues, he should be near the top of your list.

2. QB Robert Griffin III @RGIII – Washington Redskins
Like Luck above, the Redskins will give RG3 the reigns. The Redskins are still coached by Mike Shanahan, so he will not have as much control. Griffin is stepping into a much better position than Luck because the Redskins have reloaded at the wide receiver position and have 2 good tight ends. They also are better off at the running back position to keep defenses honest. RG3's running will also be a plus for him this year. RG3 will have a better year than Luck and may actually approach fantasy starter level in your redraft leagues. He should also be high on your dynasty leagues as well.

3. RB Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns
Welcome to Cleveland Trent. The Browns were desperate for help at all skill positions and got someone many call the best running back to come out since Adrian Peterson. Richardson is a very hard running gem of a RB and will be a cornerstone for a long time in Cleveland. Because the Browns also drafted a new quarterback in Brandon Weeden, they will probably run the ball often. He will be a top 15 running back this year and should be your top choice for rookies this year in fantasy leagues

4. WR Justin Blackmon @JustBlack81 – Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been looking for a #1 wide receiver for years and finally have their man. Justin Blackmon has been the #1 wide receiver in college the last 2 years and will now have his chance to prove his skills in the NFL. Jacksonville also signed Laurent Robinson this year, so that means Mike Thomas can now move to the slot. This all helps out Blaine Gabbert at quarterback and should spread out the defense to help out Maurice Jones-Drew. Gabbert needs to grow more before I can put any faith in Blackmon in fantasy, but this move should help out Maurice Jones-Drew the most. Consider Blackmon for a bench spot on your teams for now in case Gabbert does show improvement. Blackmon has the skills to help out and should also be higher on your list for dynasty leagues.

5. QB Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins
It has been a very tough off-season down in Miami and the fan base is growing angry. They traded away their best player -- Brandon Marshall -- to the Chicago Bears and have not been able to bring in any talent. Ryan Tannehill will create some much-needed excitement for the Dolphins, but he is a project for the future and will need time to learn. Remember Tannehill started off in college playing wide receiver and then switched to quarterback. He may help out some in a type of "wildcat" formation for now, but that is about it. Even in dynasty leagues he would not be worthy of much more than a late pick.

6. WR Michael Floyd @MichaelMFloyd – Arizona Cardinals
The Minneapolis-St Paul area could become the new scouting headquarters for all Arizona Cardinals wide receivers. Larry Fitzgerald went to Holy Angels Academy out of Minneapolis and now here comes Michael Floyd from Cretin Derham Hall out of St Paul. What a great spot for Michael Floyd. Larry Fitzgerald learned from Cris Carter and now becomes the teacher for Michael Floyd. Floyd is a big, physical receiver that should compliment Fitzgerald very nicely in Arizona. His speed will also help spread the offense even more and not let the defense focus too much attention on Fitzgerald. This helps out the entire Cardinal offense. Floyd should have some mid round value in redraft leagues and should be picked higher in dynasty formats.

7. WR Kendall Wright – Tennessee Titans
I have to admit, this pick puzzled me a little. I thought the Titans would draft a lineman to help protect Jake Locker and to help open more holes for Chris Johnson. Once more, the Titans did not have a big need in the area with Kenny Britt & Nate Washington already at wide receiver and up-and-comer Jared Cook at tight end. Wright does have all the skills to help out, but how much will he be out on the field?? This looks more like a wait and see approach for now.

8. QB Brandon Weeden – Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns drafted a 2nd skill position player in the draft this year with quarterback Brandon Weeden. Word out of Cleveland is that they are already trying to trade Colt McCoy. That would mean Weeden would be the week 1 starter for the Browns. But who does he throw to?? The Browns have very little for pass catchers currently on the roster. Until the Browns can sign some receivers, all hands should be off of Weeden.

9. WR A.J. Jenkins – San Francisco 49ers
It had to be very frustrating to be a 49ers fan last year and see a team get so close to the Super Bowl only to not have anybody catch passes when they needed it most in the NFC Championship game. The 49ers made it a high priority this off-season by bringing in both Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to help out in that area. A.J. Jenkins was drafted ahead of 3 or 4 other wide receivers that seemed to be ahead of him in all the pre-draft rankings. Obviously the 49ers liked something about his game. He does have all the tools to make it work, but like Wright above, how much will he be on the field?? I like the potential, but he might be a couple years away.

10. RB Doug Martin @DougMartin22 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
LeGarrette Blount and the rest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all had a disappointing season last year and we knew that changes would come. They signed Carl Nicks to help out the offensive line and brought in Vincent Jackson to pick up a bad receiving core. Now comes Doug Martin to help out the running back position. It will probably start off as a committee with Blount, but sooner or later Martin should take over as the lead back. He is a nice sleeper pick in both redraft and dynasty formats.

11. RB David Wilson – New York Giants
The Super Bowl champions have always liked to pound the ball down the defenses throats with an aggressive running game. Exit Brandon Jacobs to the San Francisco 49ers and enter an opportunity. David Wilson is not as big as Brandon Jacobs, but he is faster. Likely to be a backup to Ahmad Bradshaw, Wilson does offer upside because of the injury history Bradshaw has. If Bradshaw goes down, Wilson will take a big step up in value.

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    Great stuff. I look for Luck to have a better fantasy career than RGIII, but 2012 will see Griffin as the QB of the two you would want to have in your line up fantasy wise. Indy needs to get a quality tight end in the fold to give Luck a security blanket in year one. Richardson will be a solid #2 fantasy RB right out of the gate for the Browns, and if they can get a true #1 fantasy wide receiving option there(I see Little as a solid number two NFL WR) to keep defenses from stacking the box, then Richardson is fantasy gold. I disagree a little on Martin and Blount starting out as a committee, I think Martin hits the ground running as a three down running back in Tampa. Blount may be the short yardage guy, but I like Martin to "the guy" for the Bucs. I wish both Blackmon and Floyd had better QBs delivering the ball to them but both will be impact fantasy WRs as rookies. The Wright pick also left me a bit puzzled, and I think he is more valuable in a PPR format as the slot receiver in Tennessee. It's too early to tell what role Jenkins will fill in San Francisco, as they have pretty much revamped their entire WR corps. Wilson will be on all my draft lists as a "super sleeper", as I love this pick by the Giants. Bradshaw will never be an effective full time RB, and needs an accomplice. Wilson runs hard, and landed in a prime fantasy spot. Weeden and Tannehill are dynasty guys, just as you stated. In a redraft format, they have no value in 2012. Very interesting read, loved it!

    Posted by:
    Walton Spurlin 04/27/12 05:18 PM

    Thanks Walton for your comments. It is scary that we think so much alike!!

    Posted by:
    Todd Latzke 04/27/12 05:43 PM

    I love the Colts getting Fleener, Luck will have a level of familiarity with at least one of his weapons right away. I still like RGIII better, but the gap for 2012 is closing.

    Posted by:
    Walton Spurlin 04/28/12 09:50 AM

    Once again Walton I could not agree more.

    Posted by:
    Todd Latzke 04/28/12 10:40 AM

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